Vanessa Rogers was just 16 when she was paralysed from the neck down after the car she was travelling in was wrecked as she returned from a wedding with her sister.
The Canadian, from Edmonton, Alberta, was diagnosed by medics as 'a complete quadriplegic' and told she would be bed-bound for life.
But Vanessa refused to quit and, thanks to a combination of medical miracle and remarkable courage, the 30-year-old not only learned to walk again but took up bodybuilding and competed in the 2013 Muscle Beach Fall Classic. (It probably helped that her mom, coach, and No1 fan is female bodybuilder Delphene Balan.)
Vanessa has now been voted Most Inspirational Athlete 2013 by members of the Alberta Bodybuilding Association'saward (award sponsored by Visual Dimensions).
The dauntless athlete had the crowd at the Winspear Center, in Edmonton, on their feet cheering as she stepped, haltingly, onto the stage with only the aid of walking cane.
But any thoughts that there might be any element of 'sympathy vote' were quickly dispelled as Vanessa's beautifully-honed physique won her a well-deserved 3rd place in the Figure category - meaning she qualifies for the 2014 Alberta Provincials.
Vanessa's long journey to the stage started as she lay in her bed after the accident, unable to move but determined to beat the prognosis. By some miracle the severed nerves in her spine found a new path around her vertebrae and began to grow back and reconnect.
This medical million to one shot, combined with years of intensive physiotherapy and training, have all helped Vanessa's journey back to mobility.
Since her recovery she has become a public speaker for the Prevent Alcohol and Risk-related Trauma in Youth (P.A.R.T.Y) program.
Vanessa said: “I was deemed a complete quadriplegic. It was the scariest thing ever, going from having absolutely everything to having absolutely nothing in an instant.
“The fact that I am actually able to walk and I am not stuck in a wheelchair anymore is amazing. So now I live each day like it is my last.
“Anytime it’s hard, whether it’s in daily life or whether it’s for competing, of course I’m going to push through it because I could be in a wheelchair right now, indeed I am supposed to be in a wheelchair right now and I’m not.
“I was given a second chance and that’s why I believe in myself and I portray that to everybody. Live each day like it’s your last - there is so much to experience in life and so many good things to experience that why not go out and experience them?”
- Vanessa Rogers Fall Classic legs - David Ford Pro Photography Vanessa Rogers Fall Classic legs - David Ford Pro Photography
- Vanessa Rogers Muscle Beach Classic - David Ford Professional photos Vanessa Rogers Muscle Beach Classic - David Ford Professional photos
- Vanessa Rogers bicep curl Vanessa Rogers bicep curl
- Vanessa Rogers fitness Muscle Beach Fall Classic - David Ford Professional photos Vanessa Rogers fitness Muscle Beach Fall Classic - David Ford Professional photos
- Quadriplegic Female Bodybuilder Vanessa-Rogers-battle-to-overcome-injuires Quadriplegic Female Bodybuilder Vanessa-Rogers-battle-to-overcome-injuires
- Vanessa-Rogers-line-up Vanessa-Rogers-line-up
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